Excuse my presumptuous post assuming anyone would want to hear what I have to say but here it is anyway…
I have been running Firefox for years now and it has been my preferred browser due to its customisation capabilities, abilties to run extensions that provide invaluable functionality, a useful user-interface and all by a team committed to open source. However, that has all changed with the recent release of the new Quantum version of Firefox. Customisation has gone, it seems to be slow on my admittedly older hardware, I hate the new interface and none of my extensions work. In effect it is a new browser and I don’t want it.
So I went to the Mozillazine forum and posted a new topic saying goodbye to Firefox but the forum moderators decided not to publish it. There seems to be a battle between loyal FF users and defectors to Palemoon that I was caught up in. I was simply saying a fond goodbye to Firefox as I have been a loyal user since the beginning. I told them I’m off to the PaleMoon browser instead which has really impressed me. I think PaleMoon is what Firefox used to be with regard to respecting its total user base and not just satisfying a few…
“Thanks Firefox, I am loathe to stop using you but the relationship is over as you have changed in personality too much and you are now something completely different from the software I loved. I found some software just like you and I like her more. Even though she is just as old as you she reminds me of you and I when we were young and in love, however, unlike you she still looks good! Thanks anyway for the good times. What a pity they are over.”
PaleMoon is a fork of Firefox, forked at version 27 but essentially it IS firefox before they put that awful Australis user interface on it. The following image showing palemoon on Windows 7 looking just like Firefox in all respects:
So, I had a migration to do. All migration s are fraught but some are easier than others, migration to PaleMoon is less worrisome than some as it is the same process as a migration of Firefox to another computer. We’ve probably all had to do the same already at least once.
Let’s summarise the process:
I am running Palemoon 32bit on Windows 7 64bit, that is the version I chose to install but I do have plans to try the 64bit version very soon.
My reason for trying Palemoon is due to Firefox ESR being so unstable with my chosen extensions, those instabilities comprise regular audio stuttering issues, very high CPU usage during flash/html video play, regular hangs or freezes, generally running far more slowly than older versions of Firefox. In addition I have to face the fact that Firefox ESR has a limited life span and that I am going to have to migrate to FF quantum at some point in the future. If I have to migrate to another browser that has none of my familiar extensions, reduced functionality and an unproductive UI then I might as well move entirely to another browser, Chrome, or another that has all the facilities I require. So, onto Palemoon.
I have migrated all my favourite extensions from Firefox to Palemoon, Element Properties, Password Exporter, pwgen - Password Generator, Save Button for Pinterest, Saved Password Editor, StartupMaster. All installed with ease and run faultlessly. Previously I also used the Classic Theme Restorer on FF to allow square tabs, having all the tabs below the search bar and a bookmark bar in between, allowing the close tab button to appear in the original location (after the rightmost tab) to restore the original look and feel prior to Australis - which I feel was efficient and optimised for the desktop. The Classic Theme Restorer extension is of course no longer required on Palemoon as it has the original classic look already.
I only had one extension that failed to co-operate and that was an old favourite of mine, Secure Password Generator 1.0.8. It caused PM to hang when the option button was clicked upon. I am testing an earlier version and we’ll see how that goes.
Another of my favourite extensions Adblock Pro has been discarded in favour of Adblock latitude as Adblock Pro is not supported on PaleMoon, at least not yet… We need to wake such developers onto the idea of alternative browsers based upon forks of Firefox.
I exported my FF passwords and imported them using password exporter, I added a master password and tested the password editor. I exported and imported all my bookmarks. All well so far. Finally, only my tabs to restore.
I failed to export and import all my hundreds of tabs. I tried several extensions and each in turn failed to export tabs from the FF default session, or managed only to export a text list in a very clunky and unusable format. Eventually, I resorted to manually dragging all of my tabs one by one to a new bookmark folder, exporting that bookmark list and re-importing into PaleMoon. Then I had to manually open each bleedin’ bookmark in order, opening to a new tab. Closing and restarting PM and restoring the browser history was enough to give me my tabs and the end result of making PM look and feel just like my friendly old FF prior to Australis.
The migration of tabs is one area where the PaleMoon devs could really give a user like me a helping hand. I know that this facility is what the FF devs should really be providing but they are unlikely to facilitate a migration from Firefox to Palemoon or any other browser. When Pale Moon initially starts fopr the very first time it asks if it should import bookmarks &c from IE but I would suggest that the most likely route for a migration to PM is a user coming from Firefox.
EDIT: I later found out there was an option on Firefox to export all tabs to bookmarks. I wish I’d known that earlier as it would have really helped! The PaleMoon forum helped me with the useful bit of information.
My impression of Palemoon 32 bit? Well, on Windows 7 - 64bit on a Dell Latitude e5400 laptop with a mere 2.5ghz core2duo and integrated GPU, Palemoon 32bit is running significantly faster than Firefox ESR 52.5.0 64 bit, Palemoon is noticeably more responsive, feels faster to such an extent that it feels like an injected version of Firefox, not quite a turbo version but certainly injected in comparison to Firefox’s carbs.
I can run all the old extensions I am used to, the interface is identical to that which I have already grown accustomed and in fact I prefer it to FF’s Australis. I can theme PaleMoon thoroughly and I can configure it to run the way I like it.
This is my Pale Moon title, menu, search bar and tabs featuring the Centurion Light font, compact and attractive for my Steampunk desktop.
I am impressed by Palemoon from the outset. I love the stable and desktop optimised GUI. I love the familiarity of the interface and the compatibility with Firefox. I cannot comment on the overall stability as I have not used it long enough but I will comment here later when I have more experience to contribute.
So far, PM feels like my new default browser.